Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 15, 2008
Tips for keeping romance alive after the babies start arriving
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
The early years of raising children are physically and mentally demanding. It's easy for parents to get so caught up in meeting and anticipating their children's every need, in addition to fulfilling other obligations, that the need for quality time with their spouse is neglected.
To flourish, the marital relationship must be continually nurtured by a conscious, ongoing investment of time and effort. Chances are, though, you won't "find" couple-time at this busy stage of your life - you have to carve it out.
MAKE REGULAR DATES
Consider establishing a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly date, perhaps going out for dinner, attending a cultural or sporting event, or trying a new activity together.
If you're on a tight budget, collect coupons for restaurants and attractions, go for dessert instead of a meal, take a long walk or go cycling, pack a picnic lunch and go to a park, or drive somewhere with a great sunset view. Vary activities and the time of day, and take turns planning your dates.
A RELIABLE BABYSITTER
It's best if the babysitter is someone your children know well: a grandparent, aunt, uncle, teenage cousin or a good friend of yours. Another option is to hire a teenager from your neighbourhood - someone whose family you know, or who has good references.
If you don't know of anyone, ask around. (Make sure your kids are comfortable with the sitter, and vice versa, before you leave them alone.)
Or consider taking turns babysitting with another set of parents you know.
LATE-NIGHT DATES AT HOME
If it's hard to arrange babysitting, or you feel your children are too young to be left with a sitter, plan home-based dates.
Once the kids are settled in bed, order your favourite takeout food and enjoy a candlelit dinner in the dining room, have a picnic on the living room floor, cook a special meal together, cuddle up and watch a movie, or play cards or board games, to give just a few ideas.
Turn off the phone so you aren't interrupted.
FLEX TIME AT WORK
If you both work outside the home, arrange a lunch date or arrange an afternoon off to do something fun together until it's time to pick up the kids.
If you can flex your work time, plan to go in later one day and have breakfast together after taking the kids to day care or school.
TAKE TIME TO TALK
It's also important to find ways to build quality couple time into daily life, even if all you can manage for now is 15 minutes.
It can be as simple as habitually sitting down together to talk about your day once the kids are settled in bed. Give each other your full attention, eliminating all distractions.
Get into the habit of demonstrating affection on a daily basis, and expressing appreciation for the things your partner does for you and your family.
Perform thoughtful gestures such as completing a household task your mate customarily handles or serving breakfast in bed. Revive courtship practices you once engaged in, like giving flowers or writing notes.
As your children grow, couple time will be easier to come by. However, you must lay the groundwork now.
A good marriage is a refuge from the trials and tribulations of life, providing fulfillment and joy while mirroring God's unconditional love.
By fostering intimacy as a couple, you also create a nurturing home environment and set a positive relationship example for your children. The whole family benefits.